Who knows the truth about them, I know only what they have told me. A family shipwrecked onto my own little desert island cafe life.
The only white family receiving public assistance in this wealthy part of town, they claim. This present life of theirs is a joke, says the mother. They used to be rich.
One son is trying to be an actor in Hollywood, the other likes to play an idiot and make astonishingly poetic nonsense remarks. First time he flattered me that I was someone with entitlement, so deserved to be someone of importance even if I wasn't. I said I was then entitled to an answer to an important question: was he an idiot or just pretending? He said he was too much of an idiot to be able to answer.
I find them at the cafe almost any time I go. They are waiting for something, I don't know what and they won't say. They have tea bags and coffee sachets, so they just ask for hot water and live a free and easy existence at the cafe. They smoke cigarettes. The mother is too heavy to explore the neighborhood for its own sake. The actor son works as an extra a few times a month, talks to girls, writes and answers personal advertisements.
They see I don't do anything either and we have that in common. I found them like I often find valuable things left unclaimed in public places that mysteriously call out to me.
But much of the time sitting at their table when they invite me to join them I am terrified. If the world wasn't waiting to destroy me and them if nothing changed, it would be beautiful. Sit in the sun and tend the garden is fine only if you have a garden. I've got to do something, I've got to do something I am telling myself as I sit quietly listening to one son's absurdities, the other son's dreaming appreciation of his chance meetings with minor movie stars and film makers, the mother's memories of her times of wealth and success when she sold real estate and traveled the world. She likes to make fun of my sports coat as cheap synthetic department store stuff. In fact it is or was the best of its kind found in a second hand store, but now much worn like the rest of my finds.